The name Clayton
almost certainly derives from the simple Anglo-Saxon meaning "a
settlement (or town) built on clay". As early as the 12th century
there was a Clayton Hall, owned by the Byrons (of whom the poet Lord
Byron was a descendant). It is geographically bounded by the districts
of Beswick, Miles Platting and Bradford.
The River Medlock and Sunnybank Brook run through it and the Ashton
Canal runs along its southern limit.
Hall was rebuilt in Tudor times as a moated manor house and remained
in the Byron family until it was sold to Sir
Humphrey Chetham in 1620 - he died there in 1653. He was to be
the founder of Chetham's Library
and School near Manchester Cathedral.
to the Ashton Canal inevitably meant that Clayton was transformed
by the Industrial Revolution and the district became a major link
in the transportation system as well as having a chemical works which
constantly polluted the River Medlock. The newly formed Newton Heath
Football Club had its grounds in Bank Street, opposite the chemical
works - in 1902 it was to become Manchester
United Football Club, now probably the most famous football club
in the world.
In the latter
part of the 20th century the area saw significant decline and a drastic
reduction in its population. For years it was not considered a very
desirable place to live with high incidence of crime, unemployment
was part of the East Manchester Regeneration Scheme and has benefited
from the input of significant funding and new employment opportunities
resulting in the renewal of much of its dereliction by the development
and building of the City of Manchester Stadium and other sporting
complexes as part of Sportcity, built to host the XVII
Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. This, and other educational
initiatives, were planned to see the complete rejuvenation of the
district over the next decades. The economic development of the district
has been considerably enhanced by the building of the major new Asda
Hypermarket and the increased trade which it now attracts into the
We have made reference to several sources in compiling this web page,
but must make special mention of the Breedon Books' "Illustrated
History of Manchester's Suburbs" by Glynis Cooper, of which we
made particular use. Information about this book can be found on our
Books About Manchester webpage.